The Division's 'Dark Zone' Is Definitely A Work In Progress

The Division's 'Dark Zone' Is Definitely A Work In Progress

The new online shooter The Division is meant to be played for months if not years. Just days after release, however, it's drawing heated criticism for how its endgame works, and the developers are already making changes.

The Division emulates the likes of Destiny and Diablo — your first time through the game is really an appetizer for the main course. Once your level is capped out, you start endgame — generally regarded as the "real" game — in which you take on far more difficult challenges while grinding for ever better, ever rarer gear.

The Division's endgame is built on a couple of really cool ideas that set it apart from its contemporaries. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those fresh ideas are also where the game has stumbled. Its problems aren't quite apocalyptic yet, and the game's makers at Ubisoft Massive have already been quick to patch in some changes in response to player feedback. Some problems were fixed almost as fast as they were reported; others seem like they will linger for a while longer.

The Division's 'Dark Zone' Is Definitely A Work In Progress

The map in this game is so good it will probably get its own article. The two biggest problems, in a nutshell: The game's fascinating cooperative/competitive "Dark Zone" has been somewhat de-fanged, so everyone's playing nice despite the fact that they could theoretically be fighting one another for loot. In addition to that, an early imbalance in how the game paid out a valuable endgame currency meant that a few extremely hardcore players were able to gorge themselves on loot and unlock almost every available reward in a matter of days.

It's probably easiest if I start by breaking down how The Division's endgame works:

  • Upon hitting level 30, you're encouraged to begin to explore the "Dark Zone" in the middle of the map. The DZ is loaded with high-level enemies who drop high-level rewards, and it's also the only non-safehouse area in the game that's full of other players. (Outside of the DZ in the vanilla game's open world, it's just you and/or your squad in a world filled with NPCs.)

  • While in the Dark Zone you earn special DZ experience points that increase your Dark Zone rank, as well as special DZ currency that you can spend on powerful weapons at designated vendors. You can choose to attack other players and steal their stuff, or fight alongside them to kill bosses faster and get better loot. The only way to keep the loot you've gathered is to call in an air extraction, which notifies anyone nearby that it's happening so that they can A) come get in on the extraction or B) ambush you and take your shit. The constant possibility of betrayal makes things unpredictable and exciting.

  • At level 30 you also unlock daily challenge missions, which task you with replaying one of the game's main story missions against much more difficult enemies.
The Division's 'Dark Zone' Is Definitely A Work In Progress

I hear mixed things about the Liberator. I think I'll probably buy it anyway...

  • In addition to Dark Zone currency you begin to earn a new currency called "Phoenix Credits," which let you buy the best gear in the game from certain vendors. You get some credits for completing daily challenge missions, and some for killing bosses in the dark zone. Think of Destiny's strange coins, if you're looking for a point of comparison.

  • You start working toward earning High-End Gear, which is the technical term for the the best class gear in the game. High-end guns are colour-coded gold and the guns have names and unique perks (sound familiar?) though each piece of high-end loot also has some element of randomness to its roll. You could get two versions of the same high-end gun and have one be way better than the other, meaning that the quest for your perfect loadout could be lengthy.

More stuff is coming in the future — in particular the first of several planned "incursions," which have been described as The Division's version of an MMO raid — but until then, that's pretty much it. Earn phoenix credits, explore the dark zone, do challenge missions, and unlock high-end gear.

If you visit most of The Division's dedicated forums and in particular the well-populated Division subreddit, you'll see a lot of players howling bloody murder about the various ways the game is screwing all of that stuff up. Here's what's going wrong.

Everybody's Friends In The Dark Zone

The (cool) idea underlying the Dark Zone is that you'll form tenuous alliances, farm good gear, and sometimes lose that gear to other players. If you kill another player in the DZ, you become designated a "rogue agent," which lights your name up in red and alerts everyone around you that there's now a bounty on your head.

You can kill a rogue player with no penalty, and you get a whole bunch of DZ experience points and cash. You can even pick up whatever loot they were carrying, free of charge. If you go rogue and get killed, however, you suffer a significant penalty; you lose a big chunk of DZ experience points and money, as well as whatever you were carrying.

The current issue is that the punishment for going rogue is so severe that everyone has already decided not to do it. Going rogue is almost always a death sentence, and the rewards just aren't worth the risk. As a result, most players will work really hard to avoid going rogue. Once you know that, it removes a lot of the tension from the Dark Zone.

I played in the DZ a bunch this weekend, and found that other players almost never went rogue. Several times I ran into yahoos who saw that I was carrying loot and repeatedly tried to jump into my line of fire to trick me into going rogue, so they could kill me and take my stuff without going rogue themselves.

The Division's 'Dark Zone' Is Definitely A Work In Progress

Seriously, look at this jackass:

The Division's 'Dark Zone' Is Definitely A Work In Progress

In general, though, everyone plays it cool. Late last night I saw a couple of well-attended extractions where every player simply unloaded their stuff and bailed, without a shot fired.

The Division's 'Dark Zone' Is Definitely A Work In Progress

I didn't have any gear to extract so I just did jumping jacks. I also saw a couple of players accidentally go rogue while shooting at NPCs; the other players let them live until their rogue timer expired. There was a sort of unspoken agreement that we were all just farming loot and no one wanted to be a jerk about it. It was actually fascinating and tense, if ultimately anticlimactic.

I understand the complaints that the Dark Zone's rogue punishments are so severe that they discourage anyone from going rogue. The Dark Zone's gotta have some fangs if it's going to remain interesting, and I can imagine the novelty quickly wearing off if everyone keeps agreeing to get along. While there's still the possibility of seeing the odd extraction ambush, I haven't seen anyone decide to aggressively go on a rogue killing spree out in the DZ itself. To do so would be suicidal and would almost certainly undo hours of work grinding cash and XP.

That being said, I've still been having a great time in the Dark Zone. It still feels exciting and unpredictable to me, and has proven a fine way to grind for better gear after completing most of what there is to do in the base game. It's been fun to just randomly run into other players and decide to team up to grab loot, and the careful dance of trust that we do immediately after meeting hasn't gotten old.

The Division's 'Dark Zone' Is Definitely A Work In Progress

I sense that the bigger long-term issue will be the fact that aside from the DZ, The Division has no other sort of PvP (player vs. player) game option. There's no team deathmatch, no capture the flag, no arena-style fighting like in most other online shooters. For players who really like PvP and want to test their mettle against other players, there's kinda nothing to do. You could run into the DZ and immediately begin shooting other players, but you'll just get mobbed by every other player in the Zone and die.

I imagine that Ubi Massive will tweak the risk/reward ratio for going rogue in the near future, but even then, it'd be great to also have something like a designated non-rogue area where people can engage in structured PvP play with their cool new guns without worrying about going rogue, losing progress, or the rest of the Dark Zone meta.

A Run On The Phoenix Credit Bank

The other major endgame problem involves those cool new guns and the phoenix credits needed to buy them. Remember, your whole goal for The Division's endgame is to get high-end guns and armour, and the easiest way to get that gear is by earning phoenix credits and spending them at high-end vendors.

You can earn credits by doing daily missions or by killing difficult "named" bosses in the Dark Zone. You get somewhere between 15-30 credits for doing daily missions at "hard" and "challenging" difficulties. A named boss in the DZ will currently net you a mere two or three credits. A high end weapon blueprint might cost 180 coins, so you'll have to save up for each thing you want to buy.

The Division's 'Dark Zone' Is Definitely A Work In Progress

You get this high-end pistol for finishing the story. It seems ok? A little gaudy for my taste. It's a pretty balanced system… well, it's a pretty balanced system now.

For the first few days after The Division went online, it was possible to get 10 or more coins from a single named boss in the Dark Zone. That threw the entire balance out of whack. Players who mainlined the game for the first 48 hours were able to hit the level cap and assemble teams to farm DZ bosses and amass hundreds, even thousands of phoenix credits. Some players earned so many credits that they could afford basically every piece of high-end gear in the game.

Ubi Massive quickly nerfed the drop rate for phoenix credits in the DZ; you now get only a couple of credits for each named boss. It was probably their only viable option, but the damage has been done. A handful of hardcore players already have unbelievably powerful characters, and the rest of us have to slowly grind to unlock the gear those people got in a day or two.

The theoretical problem here is substantial: A few dedicated players are fully geared up with nothing to do. It's easy to imagine bands of near-invincible jackholes roving the Dark Zone and killing everyone with impunity. Given that they have nothing left to buy, they're probably bored, and their gear is so good that even coordinated groups of "normals" would have a hard time killing them.

In practice, for me… well, it hasn't really been like that. I haven't run into any bands of geared up super-killers in the DZ. And while part of me feels a little bitter than some players already have the best stuff, I've been hitting the endgame pretty hard and so far have felt fine with my rewards. I'm excited when I get a new piece of high-end gear and have been carefully planning my phoenix credit purchases to get stuff I really want.

The 15-credit daily hard missions are a piece of cake, and I'm sure that in a month of regular, casual play I'll have whatever gear I want. If I'd gorged on phoenix credits in the first couple of days like those zealous few, I would have ruined the whole flow. If anything, those are the people most hurt most by the overly generous pre-nerf Dark Zone rewards.

The Division's 'Dark Zone' Is Definitely A Work In Progress

There are some other issues that I'm not outlining here — some of the drop rates in the DZ are a bit off, DZ credits feel largely pointless, the challenge on daily missions is weird, that kind of thing — but most of The Division's endgame problems stem from the two issues outlined above.

Ubisoft Massive has demonstrated that they're carefully listening to players. They have already issued a couple of hotfixes, one for the DZ credit rewards and another one nerfing a ridiculously overpowered gun within a day or two of it being identified by players.

There are a number of possible solutions to the problems I've outlined above, and while some of them would be more substantial and difficult to implement than others, this game isn't even a week old. The Division's endgame may be a work in progress, but I'm willing to give the developers the benefit of the doubt that they will continue to figure this stuff out as they go.

I've put around 40 hours into The Division so far and while I do feel I have a pretty good sense of what it's all about, I'm still adjusting to the rhythms of endgame. Along with Destiny, The Division is really only the second shared-world shooter of its kind. If there's one thing Bungie's game has taught me, it's that these games' most appealing aspects — and most frustrating problems — only make themselves known over time. My full review will most likely run early next week. Until then, I've got some Dark Zone bosses to farm.



Comments

    The biggest issue ive had with the dark zone lately is people "trolling" other players by following them around and deliberately standing infront of them when fighting AI or other Rogue players. Its incredibly annoying and frustrating because if you cant shoot the AI while some idiot stands infront of you, and the AI kill you then you loose your stuff anyways, Or you keep shooting, go rogue and then lose more stuff.

      Yeah a bit silly, they should add a "hold R3 to go hostile" or something because going rogue because of one misfire is pretty rough qhen some people run around like fools.

        Totally agree, ive been screwed by trolls and lag a couple of times, where my group was fighting a boss and another team has turned up and ran right out and stood in-between us and the boss, I stopped shooting as soon as I noticed, but the delay of lag still meant that a few bullets hit and that was enough to send us over.

      Yer you just have to check your fire and always - always be in cover with an escape route available. It's not that bad tbh and our group have taken advantage of it at times when people are stealing our areas (it gets far to crowded at named mob locations). I just think that they don't need to have it globally announce where you are or limit it to a zone (dk1 dk2 etc) I find that the loss of keys, cred, xp to be acceptable its just that the entire map will hunt you down as they know exactly where you are.

        Our areas? did not know the game came with the deeds to a virtual location. Taking advantage of a broken game mechanic to punish other players because they are just trying to play the game is a bullshit reason for justification.

          If you can't check your fire or move elsewhere then yer... deal with it. You can actually fire off a few shots and not go rogue, if you're paying attention you have nothing to worry about.

            You know there is literally no benefit of kicking people out of areas? if the boss drops any loot it drops it for all players involved in the fight. The issue isn't with paying attention, look at the GIFS Kirk put up, its that players constantly do it, so the "few shots" easily rack up. Ive had times even when ive stopped shooting immediately as they enter my screen and the delay in my connection has still registered them taking the hit.

            You should just man up and if you want to kick them out of the area go rogue yourself rather then being passive aggressive and abusing a game mechanic.

              Mobs die virtually instantly in a group with liberal use of cd's. It's not that. They kill mobs we haven't gotten to yet or worse yet they are solon and fuckin kite them ages away as they are undergeared or shit (most likely shit going by the amount of idiots that just keep shooting when we get in their los). Its about efficiency and making us chase down one fucking mob is a pita. You need to clear an area for it to respawn and you can get pretty much perfect routes going (ie area respawns just as you approach) If you know what you are doing.

              Most learn quickly and just go to another area or attempt to tail us and get tags (although i can't imagine they have much success as generally they just leave after a bit - like i said mobs die virtually instantly - even named).

              You should just man up and if you want to kick them out of the area go rogue yourself rather then being passive aggressive and abusing a game mechanic.

              It works and with no risk. Why would we when going rogue has such harsh penalties? We've had no problem taking out a group or even two groups of players (stacked ultimate abilities are op as hell) the problem is that they just keep on coming as they know exactly where you are. If they just fixed it so your location wasn't advertised to the entire zone that'd be enough imo.

                so a player is taking ages to kill a mob and you wont just help and move on? Or a solo player wipes an area and messes up your "farm" route and you just wont take your own advice and move somewhere else? This logic seems amazingly petty.

                But by doing what your doing, your forcing that harsh punishment, that you believe is overly harsh, on other players who don't deserve it purely because they happened to inconvenience you slightly. Kinda like a kid throwing a tantrum because their parent said no.

                  This logic seems amazingly petty.

                  Ohh without a doubt. Extremely so! But it's a game and we've only got limited time (we've been dumping 5hrs a night into it for a week then its down to one night a week) we wanted to try and get to level 30 and dz rank 30. We've done that and we've gotten quite a few high end pieces as well (i think we've all got around 100k primary dps with 60k hp).

                  But by doing what your doing, your forcing that harsh punishment, that you believe is overly harsh, on other players...

                  Honestly that's their problem they shot us... :P On a more serious note if you go rogue and don't kill anyone you loose bugger all, the problem is when you've killed a couple of people and your bounty gets higher you can loose hours of gameplay. It's not like we go out of our way to purposely be an ass for any great deal of time one person may jump in their los and if they rogue we'll kill them, take their shit and move on.

                  It's a dog eat dog world in the division, which is refreshing - sure they may loose some loot but i don't think we've ever had the same person go rogue on us more than once ie they learn.

            Yeah I gotta agree with the others. You don't own areas, even if you get there first. And as long as you get a hit on the boss in that area you will get the loot, so what's the problem. If you want guys out of your area, go rogue, once they patch it and the punishment fits the crime that'll probably be the exact ideal scenario to do it.

              And as long as you get a hit on the boss in that area you will get the loot I think it's % dmg. Group counts - you can't just shoot it twice and get loot.

                WRONG

                  hahah okeydoke - try it with a low level weapon.

            Right now the problem is that there is no danger in the DZ, and you want to take more out by making a safe button so that no one can attack you in the DZ because they step out in front of your fire? There needs to be more incentive to go rogue, I agree. But adding a safe button is even more of an exploit to the game because then you have all these players playing a safe "Let's just attack NPC's for gear" and no danger!! Then they might as well not even have the main area which is a PVP vs PVE danger zone where people can jack you for items and credits. The Dark Zone is DANGER. If you can't check your fire, hold off while someone runs out in front of you, then you shouldn't be in the Dark Zone. Even if this is a game, I like these sorts of elements because it adds at least some form of believability to it, if a person runs out in front of your gun while you are firing, they are going to get shot. You take that away, and you have just made a PvE server with people always on safe mode until another person is off safe mode, then when they turn their backs they ambush them. Your idea is more broken than the area are criticizing for when you clearly can't handle due to your trigger finger.

              So the issue isn't gun control, or the fact that the area is suppose to be dangerous, its that people are abusing the mechanic to punish other players unjustly, I shouldn't be punished because someone runs out deliberately while im firing a gun because they got butthurt that I was in an area first, but I accept the punishment if I go and deliberately try and kill them.

              The difference is deliberation. Last night I played and had a guy following me around doing it for half an hour, wasting my time and his while I tried to just kill NPCs and ignore him, I didn't want to kill him, I don't play that way, but that's infuriating.

              If the game was designed to be played that way, they would of just spawned everyone in a long corridor infront of each other.

    I know I've already stated that I don't like Destiny, so it should be no surprise that I won't like this... but man... just reading up about all the DZ Points and currency and loot just... bores the shit out of me.

    But to each their own! Hope those who are playing this have a good time.

      Play it before you condemn it, I was bored stiff with Destiny hut have been enjoying the Division quite a bit.

      The largest amount of criticism I've seen of the Division comes from people who haven't played it.

      Don't knock it till you try it.

        I'm not criticising the game, as I haven't played it. Just my reaction to the way it's being covered in the media isn't really selling it to me. A lot of what I'm reading and consuming has left me kind of cold to it. Nothing I've seen so far has really had me hooked enough to say it's a game worth my time or money.

        But that said, I could be wrong - I'm just reacting to what I see so far.

          That's the thing though - The media take an angle that doesn't necessarily promote the game. They seem to be taking their lead from the general bashing and what I've seen in comments is a lot of opinions people have formed from the media rather than from playing it.

          Sure the end game needs work. That's not really a big deal right now though because those who haven't rushed it are still playing the main content. I'm only level 13 myself after about 16ish hours played.

          Think of it as a more serious Borderlands and you won't be far off. It also does a good job with the story both in the main/side missions and just passive environmental storytelling similar to what Fallout does. The game has a hell of a lot of depth to it, you just need to play at a normal pace rather than rushing in order to see it, same as any other game.

          The Division has been almost non-stop fun for me so far. My first play session was around 4-5hrs long and when I stopped I was blown away by how good the atmosphere in the game was.

            You see, that's the kind of commentary that's been pretty hard for me to find. Even watching livestreams or lets plays, it still comes across as a cumbersome mess (granted, that's mainly to do with new players not knowing what they're doing usually). But a lot of the footage just looks either tedious or bloated. There are quite a few YouTube videos explaining various systems in the game, or giving tips to new players, and that always strikes me as a bad sign - what game is that convoluted that it can't even explain itself succinctly to get new players through that initial barrier, or where the systems are so counter intuitive that they need 20 minute explanations. And Destiny was exactly that, just a relatively simple game shackled to a horrible set of currency and loot mechanics that just weren't explained in enough detail in game, or were so counter intuitive as to just be a big turn off. Again, just my observations of things from outside.

            But I did really enjoy Borderlands, and my main gripe from that was the lack of effective story. So comparing it that way has me at least a bit interested.

            I'll probably try keep my eye on it and just see what the tone from the community is before deciding if it's for me or not. If things start stagnating like Destiny did (for me anyway), then it's a no. But if things stay vibrant for a bit, I'll see.

              Everything in game is pretty self explanatory. There's a short tutorial mission that sets the tone for how it's going to work but other than that nothing else is needed.

              The only guides I've seen pop up are on how to gear yourself at "end game". Those to me are just from YouTubers trying to cash in on the popularity and get views with quick, early guides. Those guides are entirely unnecessary, it's pretty self evident what the risk/rewards are to anyone who has played enough to hit level 30 and done some of the content.

              It's funny, the videos I saw of the Beta were great, exciting and had plenty of content. Since release they all pretty much suck and I've stopped watching them. None of what I've seen has attempted to show off the game for what it is, none of them try to show the story etc. All just seems to be a money grab from the YouTubers, a bit disgusting really.

              The fun to be had in this game is playing it with some friends or going solo and paying attention to the story and what is around you. The ganking and loot whoring can wait till end game once the story has played out.

      I hate destiny with a passion. The division on the other hand has been a blast.

      How dare you be pleasant and reasonable about people enjoying something you don't!!!

      In a comment section no less :) You're throwing my whole understanding of existence out of whack.

      Yep, it's not a game for everyone, personally i'm really enjoying it but a few mates just haven't clicked with it all.

    "You can kill a rogue player with no penalty" Not entirely true. The part that confused me alot was that if you kill a player gone rogue, you go rogue yourself. It's a bit of an overlook on ubisofts behalf and makes zero sense. What incentive is there to go around collecting the bounties of rogues if you turn into one yourself?

      That's definitely not the case. It may have been a "hostile" agent, but not Rogue. If someone shoots another player but doesn't deal enough damage to go full Rogue, they're marked as "hostile." It's a chance for a "sorry, that was an accident". If you kill someone in that state, you will be marked as Rogue.

      I do agree that there needs to be a clearer difference between hostile and Rogue, however.

      Alternatively, you may have been unfortunate enough to deliver the killing blow just after someone's Rogue timer ran out?

      Or, of course, it could be a bug. A bad one at that. But it's definitely not intended.

        Hmm perhaps I was confusing hostile with rogues, as you say they are hard to tell apart especially in the heat of battle.

      What? Of all the instances when I've killed Rogue's in the Dank Zone, this has not been the case. This is from PC and PS4.

      Hmmm no you don't. As you said, that'd completely defeat the purpose.

    It's a tough thing to balance. I agree that the current punishment vs reward for going Rogue is probably skewed a little too far to the former, but you can't make it too rewarding either. The Dark Zone should be tense, and the risk of someone killing you for your loot should always be there.

    But you can't balance it too far to the other way, or it turns into a 100% KOS PvP area. The Dark Zone isn't meant to be a Team Deathmatch arena, it's high-end PvE with the risk of PvP.

    My thoughts:

    - Don't increase the reward for surviving Rogue, but DO decrease the penalty. Slightly. Just enough so it's not 2 hours of grinding lost, but not so much that it becomes actively attractive. You should be punished for dying as a Rogue.

    - Possibly add a soft cap to the amount of experience you can lose as a Rogue. Separate it into brackets, so e.g. from 30-40 you can't drop below 30, 40-100 (as you need rank 50 to purchase the end game DZ gear) you can't drop below 40, etc.

    - Do something about the baiting and intentional walking into other players' fire. It's ridiculous. I have no concrete suggestions, but something has to be done.

    - DZ funds are currently absolutely useless. Since all the end-game gear relies on Phoenix Credits, they just sit there. While I agree the PC nerf was needed, I think it might be worth adding the ability to convert DZ funds to Phoenix Credits. Even if it's a steep conversion rate.

    - Look at adding some sort of timed DZ-specific events which encourage PvP. E.g. a Division helicopter crashes in the DZ carrying lots of powerful loot. It's on say, a 15 minute timer and players are encouraged to fight over it. Maybe add a zero or reduced penalty for going Rogue just in the event area and during the timer.

      Some cool ideas here, I think we may see some DZ events come in the free patches. I believe April is incursions and May is DZ events.

      I believe there is some vendors in the DZ safe-houses that sell DZ rank 50 high end recipes for DZ credits, similar to the phoenix credit vendor.

      Last edited 15/03/16 11:32 am

        Oh, for sure. That's definitely the great thing about these sort of online 'living' games, you can always add to it.

        You're right, there's an Incursion in April, plus another one in May. The May update also adds "new Dark Zone activities" which might hopefully be something along those lines.

        I didn't know about the DZ vendors selling HE blueprints for DZ funds, so that's good to know. I haven't explored up to DZ06 quite yet.

      - Look at adding some sort of timed DZ-specific events which encourage PvP. E.g. a Division helicopter crashes in the DZ carrying lots of powerful loot. It's on say, a 15 minute timer and players are encouraged to fight over it. Maybe add a zero or reduced penalty for going Rogue just in the event area and during the timer.

      Supposedly that's what the Supply Drops in one of the free content updates is meant to do, from memory.

      I agree on all of your points minus the 'Don't Increase the reward for surviving Rogue'. If you survive Manhunt you only get 1600 Credits. Considering we get 500 Credits from a boss kill, that feels redundant. What feels even more like insult to injury is that when you're level 5 Manhunt you *can* lose up to 60k Dark Zone Cash and an entire levels worth of XP.

      I've lost 17k from dying at Manhunt level - which is strange compared to everyone else who's reported 60k +. It's a tough system and I understand that you will not be able to please everyone. Regardless, when people have their BiS gear, they will more than likely be openly hostile in the Darkzone depending on situations.

        If that's the case, that's great news. The roadmap is looking good.

        I definitely get where you're coming from, but I maintain that in my opinion the penalty does have to outweigh the reward. The reward should be (hypothetically) the HE gear you gank from someone in the level 30 DZ. That's the risk of going Rogue. But for sure, perhaps the penalty should not outweigh the reward by a factor of 10.

        Like I said, it's tough to balance. I do want to see more and more interesting player on player encounters in the DZ, but I don't want to see it turn into KOS Team Deathmatch like DayZ became.

        Fingers crossed for those supply drops/"new Dark Zone activities"!

          The road map only looks good if you have an Xbone.

          I love the game, but the existing content isn't going to keep me interested for the two months it will take for the new stuff to reach other platforms.

          Last edited 15/03/16 7:53 pm

            I've got a PS4. It's a 30 day timed exclusivity on the paid DLC, plus some smaller scale exclusive content. The free stuff is the same for everyone, of which there's known to be one next month and one the month after.

            It's not ideal, but it's not going to stop me from playing it.

              That's not so bad, I thought the free stuff was exclusive as well.

                Yeah, if the free stuff had also been timed I'd be pretty pissed, so I understand your POV.

        I've died as an "intentional" rogue once (by which I mean, my squadmates decided to open fire on non-hostile agents, and I went along for the ride). Died at Rogue Rank 4 - lost about half a rank, 7 keys and 62k DZ credits, which was about a third of my total. I'm pretty sure it operates on a percentage of your totals, as my squadmates at the time were Rogue Rank 5, but only lost maybe 30k. Being one of the group's medics, I tend to float quite a bit more DZC than them, because I often arrive a little too late and accidentally scoop up their credits as they die.

        ... I never said I was a good medic. :P

      Do something about the baiting and intentional walking into other players' fire. It's ridiculous. I have no concrete suggestions, but something has to be done.How about the disabling the going rogue thing if you hit another agent within 1s of shooting an enemy? The game already highlights enemies so it knows when you're pointing at them, add a 2-3 degree area around them to account for inaccuracy or target leading and make it if you shoot in that arc, you can't be flagged as rogue for 1s. That'll stop the problems when you're laying down rounds on a hunkered target and idiots blatantly run across your line of fire and also mess with the trolling bellends. 1 second wouldn't be enough to pose a serious threat to any other player if you try to exploit the system, even the most powerful DMR would require a headshot to do solid damage and you're unlikely to reacquire a target, aim at their head and land a round in that 1s window.

        That's not a bad idea, really.

        I understand you should have situational awareness and check your fire, but that's all well and good until someone deliberately walks into your fire to turn you Rogue.

      I like a number of these ideas. I'd also like to implement a few others:

      - Make loot from Named bosses much more powerful & rare. Also make it so that the teams who get the initial tag on the boss are the only ones who get the good loot. This will add a bit more of a backstabbing element where teams of player can turn on each other - dying will result in you losing your tag on the boss. If you see who collects the rarer loot you have more of a reason to kill them and turn rogue.

      - Make a "thief" timer of some sort. Players who trigger people going rogue so that they can kill for loot, or following them until they die & steal their loot - give these people a timer/status which they're unable to see. Once they've accumulated a certain number of stolen items in a certain amount of time (say 8 in the last couple played hours), put a thief's bounty on their head which will set them rogue for a couple minutes.

    I've been keeping tabs on Summit's stream while at work every now and then and jeeze the current meta is pretty OP (Vector 45 SMG and SOCOM M1A DMR). They've been taking out heeeeaps of Rogues. I'm a tad disappointed I don't see anything that extreme on our side :/

    I've been farming Phoenix Credits via Challenge Modes and they've been working out rather well so far, can clear through them in 20-30 minutes give or take. I roll as a Support w/ stacked Electronics. Smart Cover and Pulse are godsends for challenge mode, FYI.

      It's interesting how people see this game. The fact that you're even using words like "meta" confuses me a bit.
      I see where people are coming from, and it's probably an issue with the marketing of the game and trying to sell it as an MMO...

      But for me, it's a single player game, that I can play co-op with mates and do some PVP later. At 30 I'll go do some challenge missions and maybe a bit of PVP.
      That's it.

      I don't care about end game, I don't care about farming things for months (that's what WoW and other MMOs are for).

      From the moment this game was announced, and especially after the beta, it was clear that this was a play through and finish kind of game and not an endless MMO.
      That's not bad thing, I'm enjoying the hell out of it, and I'm only lvl 23 after about 24hrs. Been taking it easy and exploring etc...
      I know I'm getting my value for money, but I'm not expecting to play this 2 months from now (without content expansions).

      It's honestly, the same issue people seem to have with Destiny. Boring, limited end game. Except to me... I don't see the game as the end game. They've done a great job with the single/co-op story.
      If they didn't market it as an MMO, they could have made no end game at all... would still be a fun game.

        The MMO part of the game is the only part left once you complete the actually-kinda-short/limited single-player game. Destiny was NOT a good single-player game. Its story was bullshit and uninspiring. The gunplay was great, but once you'd finished it (which literally only took about a day), the only reason to go back to that great, satisfying gunplay was the MMO-style 'endgame' grinder.

        If that part didn't exist? People would be saying it's a shitty game because there's so little of it, with so little depth.

          But that's my point. The game holds up well even without any MMO features.
          Yes you can rush through it in probably 5-7 hours, but you can do that with most AAA titles these days.
          I'm 28hrs in and only lvl 24. I'm enjoying exploring and helping my friends level and doing the odd but of PvP.

          That's what makes division so much better than Destiny. The story is good. The environment and atmosphere is amazing.
          In fact, I'd say that rushing through it to reach the end games makes it worse. We did one night recently in a group of 4 where we rushed through a few story missions and completely cleared a couple zones. It was still fun and challenging but the sense of scale and atmosphere was lost when you just sprint between map waypoints.

          Obviously each to their own, but I feel like anyone rushing through the game is missing half of it.

          Right now, I'd be perfectly happy with my $50 purchase if I just stopped as soon as I finished the story. That will probably be somewhere around the 40hr mark. Much more than I get from most other games, and I'll happily come back when some more DLC content is released.

    What? A certain aspect of a modern released videogame is unfinished?

    I am shocked, shocked I tells you!

    I like that everyone is playing nice to be honest, there are still enough rogues to keep it interesting, but I don't want a full on PvP mode and every idiot just waiting around extractions to nab your loot just before you extract. Thats not fun at all. I think its just fine as is to be honest

    Am I the only one who isn't in a rush to get to the end game? I've logged 24 hours so far, reached level 20 and still haven't completed all the main missions (let alone the side missions and encounters)...

      No, there are plenty of others.

      I personally get bored if I'm not making progress through the games main story, so I went through that for a while. Went into the DZ around level 20, then I got left behind some friends and caught up.

      I'm the same. Lvl 23 after about 24 hours. I've re-done a few story missions to help friends catch up.
      We're enjoying the challenge of playing on Hard too.

      For me this game was never about the end game. I knew that wasn't going to be as full of content as WoW.... and honestly, I didn't want it to be. I'm very happy with the level of content right now.

      People who rush through the game and then expect the end game to be something its not confuse me.
      There's 4 challenge mode missions and PVP. That's it. How much content did people really expect that to be? It sure as hell is enough to farm gear for weeks.

      Why does the game even need an end game? Why can't it just be a cool co-op shooter with some pvp?
      Just because they called it an MMO it automatically has to have daily quests and grinding/farming mechanics?
      Diablo isn't MMO, there's no pvp, and yet people still play that over and over getting stronger and faster.
      You can have those sorts of mechanics without daily quests and farming credits for ages. Or you know.... just finish a game, move on and play something else?

    We've been going rogue, have murdered whole server shards in the process > <. Agree that its a pretty hefty hit though if you get killed going rogue however.

    http://s13.postimg.org/7x1seds1z/1618533_10153946568037910_728668988119050811_n.jpg.

    There are some benefits though, both DZ currency and DZ keys go thru the roof going rogue, but not like DZ items are expensive and DZ crates drop decent loot.

    Last edited 15/03/16 12:03 pm

    Ok, so I'm 80 hours in.
    There's only one slot of armour I have that is superior, the rest are all high end.
    As far as I'm concerned- the Dark Zone is largely irrelevant. Its fun if you want to go in there and screw around or if you're a new 30 but otherwise isn't where the gear is at.
    Hell- if you did manage to pull gear from there (eg. high end weapons)- if they were good they've already been nerfed since launch. There is zero incentive to get them.
    Furthermore- of the difficulty ranges- 30 through to 32 hard in the dark zone, numerous groups I've grouped with went to 32 hard assuming the loot was going to be better. It isn't. It probably should be.
    My only real gripe so far- is seeing that I was having fun, my wife started playing. By the time she started playing I was level 20. I couldn't play with her- because if grouped with her it pushed the level of the mobs upto 17. When I hit 30 the mobs were automatically 25. This means I had no choice but to either create a new char, or wait for her to solo to 30. Completing a "hard mode" dungeon with her in the group netted her less xp than doing a single side mission solo.
    Kinda broken.

    Last edited 15/03/16 12:37 pm

      Yeah that's probably the most frustrating part for me, the enemies just scale to the highest level character and that's that. I find that the level gaps and incorrectly scaling enemies means most people on my friends list are playing alone since we're all 10-15 levels apart. It's a bit silly really.

        Yes!! This is the one major stuff up in my mind, terrible design decision for early game co-op, and has made my group split up a bit until we all reach 30. I did the same and started a new char to go through some of the early missions with a mate.

        It's one thing destiny did well was normalise damage output so you can jump into your friends games and not have it completely broken, whilst you were definitely stronger it wasn't one shots on elites or anything.

    I think it'll end up going the other way, give it another week and all those people that rushed to the end game will have 2nd rogue only characters at 30. Look forward to roaming packs of geared agents hunting newbies

    I have played much more of this game than I thought I would of at this point.

    I really really like the idea of the Dark Zone and the Rogue system but it has some pretty big problems.

    - I really like the dark zone contaminated gear/ rogue balance where you can only lose stuff you haven't extracted it is neat because it give a lite version of the Rust or Day-Z experience where the risk is never too high.

    - Going rogue is a death sentence. I really think that going rogue needs to be more predatory and opportunistic. Like if you come across another lone player with no one else in sight and he has some loot on his back you could take him out and get away with relative ease. To do this I think they should adjust how the rogue system works a little. Currently as soon as you go rogue your position is broadcast to seemingly everyone in the zone ( I thought it had a range but I have travelled more than 3 DZ's to reach a rogue before ). What typically ends up happening is every agent on the server comes out of the woodwork to kill the rogue. Death sentence.

    - What I think it should do instead is display the last known location and to a shorter range. If an agent gets killed a block away from you you will get a notice. You can choose to investigate the scene of the crime but if you take too long to get there and the rogue is gone you will probably have a tough time finding them. So taking someone out without players in sight and going into hiding would be more viable. Instantly making one on one encounters much more tense.

    - But if another agent witnessed the attack and has eyes on the rogue agent then his location keeps getting broadcast to nearby agents. I also think that the range of the broadcast should be a lot tighter, like a block or two.

    - As it currently stands it also isn't very rewarding to go rogue. Kill a player and they drop some crumby blues. I think it would be neat if it was visible how much and what quality gear the player was carrying so you can see they are loaded up with 9 pieces of superior or even have a high end. That would make it much more tempting to steal someones gear. As it currently stands it is a have something / don't have anything.

    - Another problem with the rogue system is that if you are rogue and your location is being broadcast, even if you and your squad have a good defensible position people keep on coming to kill you. And firing back keeps reseting your timer. Which means you will forever be a rogue. Which makes the only viable thing to do is run. Just run forever. Which brings me to my next problem.

    - It is really easy to just run away from a fight as a rogue. if you have first aid on and a decent amount of HP you can just run away from large groups of rogue hunters. I have been involved in a bunch of manhunts that ended up in up to 8 people chasing one rogue and not being able to get him down. The issue is that everyone runs the same speed. so we are chasing him. If we want to fire at him or throw a seeker mine. That slows us down where he keeps sprinting at full pace. He can also pop first aid without slowing down at all so it just becomes a constant chase. I really think they need to introduce a stagger that slightly slows you down when you are hit while sprinting.

    - The other big problem is accidentally rogue. I don't mind this as an idea. But it is abused way to often as mentioned above by different people. Players will just walk in front of you firing an assault rifle or SMG in the middle of a heated PVE battle to force you to go rogue. I should not go rogue for someone walking in front of my already firing gun. It is also very annoying when hunting rogues with other players. In the annoying chase situation above. You are at the front of the pack think you have made some ground and are going to unload into the rogue. Start firing and all the people behind you chasing overtake you and run right into your stream of bullets. It definitely removes a cool element of the DZ but I think there needs to be a friendly fire toggle.

    - The other issue with the rogue system is when people get a grudge with you. Last night a mate and I killed a rogue player. He and his friend just followed us around waiting for the opportune time to strike. We knew what they were doing but couldn't do anything about it without going rogue ourselves. They would try and run in front of our guns and shot at us while opening chests. We killed them again and they came back. We went to extraction and I had to just pretend to put my stuff on because I knew they would try to shoot me while I was in that animation.

    - This is also a problem when fighting well holed up rogues if it is a group of 4 and you manage to kill one. That guy can respawn and walk up behind you. We know he is with them but if we kill him we go rogue. He gets to stand right behind us wait till the right moment and down us.

    It is a really neat idea and keeps the encounters fresh because you never know what other players are going to do but it really needs some work. I hope the developers continue to evolve it over time.

    Last edited 16/03/16 11:58 am

      I really think they need to introduce a stagger that slightly slows you down when you are hit while sprinting.

      Pretty sure bleeding or on fire limits your movement speed. Did no one use ammo?? I swear no one uses their cd's properly.

        There are different types of stuns. But even applying ammo requires you to slow down. I have hit with a stun sticky bomb which does slow em a little but they are still able to shake it off pop a heal and continue the chase.

        I just think it is a bit silly how often the rogue mechanic turns into a Benny Hill chase across the DZ.

        Last edited 15/03/16 6:12 pm

          Damascus pistol applies bleed. Not sure on the ammo seems random for me on pc sometimes it does a reload animation other times it just applies the buff (buggy i guess) also at an advantage of having a hotkey. Then there is the security skill that increases movement speed by 30% (long cd tho). IMO there is enough to deal with it especially when you have more than one person chasing.

      Yeah, a shrinking of the rogue alert might be OK... I went rogue by accident, once. I was helping some guys clear an evac site, and one of them walked into the last burst of fire as I finished off an elite in front of him. I'd pulled away to avoid hitting him, but my damage was ridiculously high for that level bracket. With the buffs I had on and my epic gear meant I was melting elites in seconds, so I'm not that surprised (on reflection - I was pretty surprised at the time) that a second or even a half-second of friendly fire was enough to trigger the status.

      (The three guys didn't seem to realize that their voice-chat was public, because they called to each other not to kill me, that it was obviously an accident and no-one had died. Amusingly, one of them noted the difference in our levels and gear and that the rogue would probably 'spank us all anyway'.)

      I still did the 'surrender' emote anyway, to make sure the accident was clear.

      Anyway.... the point: I think the rogue timer was only fifteen or thirty seconds or something for some non-lethal friendly fire. Maybe it's based off damage done? But seriously within seconds of my timer falling off, a handful of dudes rushed in and started looking around, puzzled. They didn't have any yellow containers on their backs, so I'm assuming they weren't there for an evac, but to 'kill the rogue'.

        Yeah it's damaged based for sure, I had a team mate kill a few randoms and my rogue timer went up to over a minute. Still a little unsure how the group rogue/hostile stuff works, they don't really make it clear.

          Yer they don't make it clear at all. From what i can tell the rogue timer has different stages - just shooting someone for a % of their hp will flag you for 15 sec or so. Killing someone is 90 sec which progressively adds more as you kill more people. The timer halts countdown when you are taking damage - even from npc.

    "The current issue is that the punishment for going rogue is so severe that everyone has already decided not to do it. Going rogue is almost always a death sentence, and the rewards just aren’t worth the risk. As a result, most players will work really hard to avoid going rogue. Once you know that, it removes a lot of the tension from the Dark Zone."

    Found that around 50% of players were rogue and 50% not.. I think that everyone's experience is going to vary.. the risk reward is there but until there are a lot more geared up, high-end players in the DZ, a lot of people are erring on the side of caution and not going rogue.. once a critical mass is reached in about a month or so, I predict there will start to be more and more rogue groups hunting and rogue hunting groups hunting those rogue groups..

    Shrug. I got attacked by some rogue players in my only time in the Dark Zone at 30. I don't get the idea that people aren't doing it. They're obviously doing it enough to make me suspicious.

    I don't think it should be rewarding to go rogue. People are jackholes, and they'll kill other people for the sake of it anyway. There's no need to go making that happen MORE by taking away the fear that they might lose something for being a jackhole.

    The person who wants to be an asshole is the one who should be afraid of the consequences of being an asshole.

    Take a look at DayZ and all of its clones. The reason people usually cite for going KoS is because it's the only challenge left to them. And as people rank up and grow in power, that's the path they're going to take. KoS. It's just a matter of time. People might be playing nice now, but that's only because NPCs still pose something of a threat. As soon as they're not, people will turn to PKing for something to do.

    Last edited 15/03/16 6:10 pm

    Honestly, I think the main reason people feel like the Darkzone doesn't work is simply because this is a different form of PvP we've never seen before. Everyone is so use to deathmatch, kill on site style PvP that when they are presented with something different; it throws them off.

    Why risk loosing loot. Should of separated pvp from any pve content. Its psychology of the mind in action. Most people are nice by nature hence the lack of pvp if there's a choice.

    LOSE
    1. be deprived of or cease to have or retain (something).

    LOOSE
    2.not firmly or tightly fixed in place; detached or able to be detached.

    Learn the bloody difference.

      It could have simply been a mistype. Pretty common especially when one's using a mobile.

    Personally I think the DZ is broken right now.

    Enemies with shotguns that work like sniper rifles and down you in two shots whilst taking more fire than a damn tank - and I am equipped with mainly purples and golds.

    Enemies that constantly throw grenades to the point it's boring and just plain stupid

    Rogue status still being too easy to activate when in the middle of harder firefights...why? Because enemies are so tanky you have to suppress using blind fire or they advance. Whilst doing this you run the risk of hitting others and going rogue and then getting wasted by an entire group.

    What happens when This takes place? Well it happened to me just now and I lost a gold item and plenty of purples, 25k DZ credits, 4 DZ keys and an entire damn level.

    I'm getting to the point where I'm wondering if this game will have any longevity.....DZ is really its main attraction but I don't think it's anywhere near as fun as the beta version was - this is because of what I mentioned above and of course;

    SIGNATURE SKILLS

    Or, should I say, OP game breaking skills.
    You can now have a team that instant heals and revives all party members.
    Add in support station
    Add in first aid
    Add in enhanced cover

    Yeah it's boring AF and hopefully some changes or fixes are made cause I'm quickly losing interest in it...i made allowances for the damage to enemies as it's an MMO but there is a clear issue with how much health and armor they have vs how much we have...tried a challenging mission? Booooooooooring.

      Yeah it's boring AF and hopefully some changes or fixes are made cause I'm quickly losing interest in it...i made allowances for the damage to enemies as it's an MMO but there is a clear issue with how much health and armor they have vs how much we have...tried a challenging mission? Booooooooooring.

      I think you're doing it wrong (iether that or the devs fucked up). The dmg buffs stack additively. Have all four people using the smart cover with the dmg increase - use the talent that increase skill duration with kill or have items that reduce skill cd from headshots. You'll chew through the challenge modes.

    Problem is that going rogue doesn't make sense at this point.
    The negatives outweigh the positives.

    If they want to make it more volatile, they need to balance the problem which is the XP loss when getting killed by being rogue.

    They should drop that down to loosing 1 xp level max, OR, make it so that when you die in the darkzone, you just get that level of XP reset back to 0

    e.g. im lvl 35 at 99% to 36 and i go rogue and get killed, then my lvl 35 xp % should go back to 0

    This way, when im lvl 50, im not going to loose 4 lvls of XP because some asshole ran in front of me. There is also a calculable risk if i decide i want to flip out and kill everyone.

    Im on XB1 and the bracket system seems to be hack-able. I am rank 21DZ and 22 level, but just had a group of 24DZ level 27's and 30 on the same bracket. How is this? They just kept rolling from checkpoint to check point killing anyone they came across. Our lower levels couldn't even make a dent in their life bars.

    I have found that a huge group of rogue agents just runs around killing everyone...trolling the access points to the DZ...they need to limit the group sizes or something. Makes the DZ pointless...

    Personally, I didn't find rogues to be too much of an issue till last night. Me and my team (4 people in total) came across a group of rogues who were patrolly dz01 and dz02, pretty much slaughtering anyone that they saw. When they moved in close to me, I realized what they were doing. It was a group of eight, 4 rogues and 4 non hostiles. The non hostiles would weave inbetween the rogues while fighting so anyone hunting the rogues would hit them and go rogue themselves. Then u had eight people who could wipe us off the map with no consequence whatsoever. While I do enjoy the pvp style of the game and the constant feel of paranoia, coming across this really laid out how dickish people are willing to be just to troll people.

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